How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 102.


I stood accused of murder.

It was 5am, two police officers were waiting for me when I arrived at the radio station. This all happened in 1998, I was presenting the Breakfast Show on 2CRFM on England’s South Coast.

It all started innocently enough when the owners of the radio station booked the former Radio 1 Breakfast Show host, Steve Wright to talk to us about how to do better Breakfast radio.

Two days before I was accused of the murder, myself and my Breakfast Show team met with Steve Wright around a board room table. Steve sat at the end and for a couple of hours we listened to him talk about the important things good Breakfast shows should be doing.

About halfway through, out of the corner of my mouth, I told my producer, Martyn Lee, to hit ‘record’ on the minidisc machine he always had with him. I told him to leave the recorder in his pocket so Steve Wright wouldn’t know he was being recorded. Martyn looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. Every good producer knows, a recording that far ‘off mic’ would turn out to be almost useless and certainly not broadcast quality. Steve’s voice would sound as if it was in the background. That’s exactly how I wanted it to sound.

The next morning on our breakfast show, I called up the BBC live on the air and spoke to a very stroppy receptionist. I told her that I had kidnapped one of their DJs and had a list of demands that had to be met before he would be released. While I was talking to her, I was playing the ‘off mic’ recording of Steve Wright telling us how to do our show. I told her that he was tied up in the corner of our studio.

Every now and again I would turn away from my mike and shout, “Will you be quiet? I KNOW how to present a Breakfast show!” He kept on talking in the background while I read the list of demands. These included; setting the shipping forecast to music, a repeal of the the TV licence and the removal of Terry Wogan’s wig.

As Steve Wright kept droning on, I became more frustrated. The receptionist started to get angry and kept trying to interrupt me. By now she was shouting, “Caller…. Caller…” I was shouting at Steve Wright, “SHUT UP, I’m trying to get your people to agree to my demands!” 

Getting nowhere, I changed tack and started pleading with her to tell me how to make him stop talking.

In the end what you heard on the air was my frustration bubbling over. I said to the receptionist, “Oh, I can’t take any more of this”, played the sound of a single gun shot, pulled down the fader so Steve Wright fell silent and then hung up the phone.  

It turns out that, thinking I’d shot and killed Steve Wright, the receptionist reported the incident to the police. That’s why, the following morning, the police showed up at 2CRFM and took a statement from me. I still haven’t heard back from them actually.

Radio has changed a lot since 1998. These days, the business is much more risk-averse, especially since Ross & Brand’s “Sachsgate” scandal and the infamous Australia royal prank call. My broadcasting style has mellowed a lot over the years too.

But back then, I used to get away with murder.  

Craic on!

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